Cotoneaster Autumn Colour

In to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Change.”

Some beautiful colours around on the bonsai bench and in the flower beds.  This small leaved cotoneaster is still very green.  Except for one small branch.  A great wee splash of autumn.DSC_0171

Deadwood study

Nebari Bonsai

Interesting to consider how deadwood appears in different species. Ever looked closely at it?
Some areas of Japanese white pine wood rots easily, and comes off in long strings, often leaving a matrix of the inner-most core remnants of branches behind:

Ponderosa pines show slivers, flakes, and scales. From TGT Bonsai:

Japanese black pine tends not to carry much deadwood. I presume this is because it rots and heals over fairly quickly. Here is an uncommon example, lifted from Jonas’Bonsai Tonight photos of the REBS 31st show:


Needle junipers have knobby burl-like deadwood, indicative of its spur-like growth pattern (from Peter Tea’s blog):

Shimpaku and other scale junipers tend to show the grain. When carving, we can accentuate the existing grain for a rather natural look:


Yew shows relatively less grain, but will show recesses where the live vein redirects over time to create canoe-shaped channels:


It’s good…

View original post 17 more words

Another Year On…

I’ve been reviewing the blog lately and thinking about the progress of my trees and material in the past year.  An ideal scenario would be that everything is a year better in development but unfortunately that’s not the case.  It’s the Belfast City Autumn Show this weekend and I remember thinking last year that I would like to have a few more things to enter in the bonsai classes at the 2015 event.  For various reasons, I don’t, and next year hopefully I can enter more than my same usual 2 or 3 trees.

But there has been noticeable progress with other material still in development and that’s encouraging.  I have to sometimes remind myself that I’m choosing the long route in bonsai and things do take time to transform from garden/seedling material to competition ready bonsai trees.

This shohin sized Serissa Foetida is coming on well after a year of clip and grow techniques.  Another trunk has also unexpectedly popped up and I’ve decided to utilize it so that I now have the beginnings of a twin trunk indoor tree.


August 2014 after a hard prune.


August 2015. A new front and a minor trunk in development.

Hopefully this time next year it’ll look even better in a ceramic pot (anyone got a spare bright yellow oval?) and with taper in the minor trunk.  I’ll continue to clip both canopies to improve ramification.

Cotoneaster Club Chop

NIBS club resumed last Friday night after a summer break and it was great to be back in the thick of things.  I brought with me a large cotoneaster that I dug up from the garden a few years ago.  I had repotted it earlier this year and waited until now to think about styling.


Before. With another Ben hiding amongst foliage.

Originally I’d always thought about keeping the long trunk as it previously had multiple trunks and I thought it best to keep one but recently I’ve not been convinced.  I went to club thinking that it could be chopped right down but wanted to get a few other opinions in case I’d missed something.

So, with Ben modelling and Phil doing the cutting, it truly was a club effort.  Here’s what I came away with at the end of the night.



It’ll be short and chunky with a deadwood trunk.  The foliage will grow into two main pads in future.  Some wiring at the next meeting needed but before then I’ll carve down the extra trunk stubs when I get a chance. Cheers Phil!

Future Ash Bonsai (fraxinus excelsior)

This is an ash sapling that self seeded in the garden 3 or 4 years ago.  It was put in a  flower pot and then has been largely ignored since then but recently I had a closer look and I actually really like it as potential bonsai material.  In fact, next spring I may just give it  a root prune and plonk it straight into a bonsai pot.


September 2015



The trunk has some movement, internodes are pretty short and there’s promising nebari.  It’ll be something a bit different but after some surgery, it could be nice as a shohin bonsai tree.